RICHMOND – Evidence shows paying the minimum wage benefits higher-functioning disabled workers, but lower-functioning disabled workers lose sheltered workshops.
Workshops in some states have closed due to the minimum wage requirement. Missouri and other states are threatened by a federal proposal to require paying the minimum wage to disabled workers.
Paying minimum wage, versus “wage parity” allowed since the New Deal era, is touted by some disabled advocates. They say the wage helps the disabled achieve greater financial independence.
“Paying people subminimum wage is not effective … and we’ve known that for a few decades now,” a workshop employee in Seattle, Washington, Shaun Bickley, said. “That’s why the direction the country has been moving is toward supported employment and integrated employment.”
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